Entergy Corp. has announced completion of the registration of a reforestation project in Arkansas and Louisiana that will remove an estimated 460,000 tons of carbon dioxide over the next 40 years.
The project, which involved restoring 2,942 acres of marginal agricultural land to native bottomland hardwood forests, is registered with the widely respected American Carbon Registry and is one of only a few U.S.-based reforestation projects registered anywhere. Entergy partnered with The Conservation Fund and Trust for Public Land, which helped acquire the lands; Environmental Synergy, which planted the trees; and TerraCarbon, which provided technical assistance and project documentation.
"The reforestation project partnership we've used here represents an innovative market-based approach to help slow and reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases," said Steve Tullos, Entergy's manager, corporate environmental initiatives. "By taking the lead with this project, we hope to encourage companies in our industry and others to use this model to take a more proactive position toward the environment."
Bottomland hardwood forests are forested wetlands that originally covered more than 30 million acres in the Lower Mississippi Valley. The reforested lands were replanted with native species, primarily bald cypress and bottomland oaks in the Tensas, Red River, Overflow, and Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuges, currently managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Most of these forests were destroyed by logging in the early 1900s and further reduced by conversion to agriculture in the 1960s and 1970s.
"Restoration not only soaks up greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, it also improves local water quality and increases areas to store floodwater," Tullos said. "In addition to climate and water benefits, the project increases habitat for waterfowl, migrant songbirds, and other wildlife including the threatened Louisiana Black Bear."
"ACR is thrilled to work with Entergy and its partners on this project," said Nicholas Martin, chief technical officer of ACR. "One of our key goals is to incentivize and reward early action, and utilities like Entergy have been the true early movers on such projects since the early 2000s, but relatively few of them have been verified and registered. In terms of clear additionality, low reversal risk, wildlife habitat and benefits to landowners, reforesting the Lower Mississippi is hard to beat."